Traditionally, Abington Celebrates hosts its annual Christmas at Island Grove weekend with the lighting of the town Christmas tree, children eagerly lined up to greet Santa in his workshop and Mrs. Claus would have freshly baked cookies ready in the cabin. However, like most events this year, it was postponed due to the pandemic.
“We’re all disappointed, but all of 2020 has been a disappointment, cancelling Flag Day/Founder’s Day including the annual fireworks back in June and Oktoberfest just after Columbus Day Weekend,” said Doug Ulwick, Event Coordinator of Abington Celebrates.
Becoming accustomed to rolling with the disappointments of 2020, the resilient committee came up with other creative ways to safely keep the Abington community celebrating together this holiday season.
The committee is hosting a virtual “Great Gingerbread House Contest”, where folks create their very own gingerbread house. In October, with the help of Abington CAM, the committee held a similar event called “Pumpkin Point Virtual”.
“After the fabulous response of Pumpkin Point Virtual, we decided to follow the same format for the Great Gingerbread House Contest,” said Michele Christian, Public Outreach Coordinator for Abington Celebrates.
Anyone entering the contest is asked to send photos to firstname.lastname@example.org by Sunday, December 13th.
“There will be a couple of additional features such as prizes for different age categories and celebrity judges that kids of all ages will not want to miss,” added Christian.
“All entries will appear on an upcoming show with Abington CAM. We encourage those that wish to take part in the contest to check out our Abington Celebrates Facebook page for entry rules and updates.”
In addition to the gingerbread house contest, Abington Celebrates has also joined forces with the folks of the Abington Strong Fund with the “Abington Is Lit” tour. This driving tour encourages Abington families and local businesses to get into the festive spirit by decorating their homes or property with holiday lights.
“I posted the idea on Life in Abington (Uncensored) Facebook page and the response was amazing,” said Joe LaPointe of Abington Strong Fund.
“Then Ken Coyle of Abington Celebrates reached out and wanted Abington Strong Fund to partner with us to help families in need this holiday season.”
“We just wanted to plan a fun event where families could leave the house together without the fear of COVID,” added Coyle.
Both committees are working together to compile a list of locations around Abington.
Decorators are encouraged to email the address of their display to email@example.com to be added to the list. A map will be provided with a route of all locations. The “Abington Is Lit” driving tour will run from December 4th through the 26th and decorators are asked to have their displays lit from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m.
Abington Strong has set up a donation box along the route for anyone wishing to help those in need this holiday season.
“At the end of the day every child deserves something special this holiday season,” said LaPointe.
“All donations will go to the Abington food Pantry as they are familiar with those who are struggling this holiday season.
After the tour, folks are encouraged to visit the Abington Celebrates Facebook page and comment on your favorite “lit” display.
“Bragging rights, a special sign and trophy will be awarded to the favorite,” added Coyle.
“So, crank up the Christmas tunes, fill a thermos of hot cocoa and enjoy the magic of our awesome community.”
Although there will not be a town Christmas tree this year, Abington Celebrates will light Memorial Bridge at Island Grove within the next week.
“We hope all of you can join in and make the whole town glow with Christmas cheer,” said Ulwick.
“We look forward to 2021 in hopes that we can bring back all of our town wide celebrations.”
Please visit Abington Celebrates and Abington Strong Fund on Facebook for more information.
(Written by Michele Christian. Christian is also Public Outreach Coordinator for Abington Celebrates)